Easing Online Procurement

Arzoon, FreeMarkets, Zeborg, Zycus take wraps off products, alliances.

Arzoon Inc., FreeMarkets Inc., Zeborg Inc. and Zycus Inc. are rolling out products and partnerships that are designed to make online procurement more effective and easier to manage.

Arzoon last week announced it would marry its Life family of logistics resource management products to Tibco Software Inc.s ActiveEnterprise integration software to facilitate real-time access to logistics information.

The alliance is aimed at easing communications and data sharing for manufacturers, distributors and retailers. As such, Tibco, of Palo Alto, Calif., will provide adapters to Arzoons software so companies can more easily share logistics data within the organization and outside with trading partners, according to officials at Arzoon, in San Carlos, Calif.

The Life suite is Web-native software that helps customers manage their logistics and import/export processes. ActiveEnterprise connects back-end and front-end systems within a company and connects across the firewall to customers, suppliers and partners over the Web.

Arzoons technology enables Union Pacific Railroad Co. to display its goods and services to traffic managers who purchase logistics services. The Tibco adapters will let the Omaha, Neb., company get its services in front of the people who are making decisions, said Mark Davis, assistant vice president of e-business at Union Pacific.

"Right now, we do a tailored interface. In other words, we write a lot of spaghetti code to handle the process" when changes are made to Union Pacifics Web catalog, said Davis. "Tibco is going to allow us to do that [integration] much more quickly, and flexibly, without having to change our legacy systems. ... In order to extend our markets, through an Arzoon-type market channel, we have to have a good level of integration."

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh-based FreeMarkets last week began shipping QuickSource 4.0, which enables companies to expand their market reach through new capabilities. A multilanguage feature allows sourcing professionals to negotiate online in English, French and German simultaneously. Using a new QuickSource multicurrency feature, suppliers can submit bids in more than 175 currencies, and buyers can view online bids in the currency of their choice.

Similarly, participants in the same online market can now view market information in any time zone, regardless of their location, using the customizable time zone feature.

Separately, New York-based Zeborg announced ExpenseMap 3.0, which provides expense analytics capabilities. The upgraded software captures spend data from dozens of financial and purchasing systems, pinpointing excess spending, according to company officials.

Key features of ExpenseMap 3.0 include an analytics application that considers "rogue" spending and supplier compliance.

Finally, automated catalog content solutions provider Zycus last week introduced AutoClass, new classification software for e-catalogs that is designed to help standardize e-procurement content for exchanges and e-marketplaces.

AutoClass, which conforms to the Universal Standard Products and Services Classification code, classifies products into one or more of 13,000 categories, according to company officials in Santa Clara, Calif.